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Centre for Evidence-
Based Medicine

Systematic Reviews: Clinical Scenario

As a nurse practitioner in a primary health care practice, you see many adult patients with asthma. The primary health care team wants to discuss strategies to improve care for these patients. They are particularly interested in whether both regular review by a health practitioner and patient education should be continued or whether giving patients written materials is just as effective. You offer to search the literature on the topic and report back at the next team meeting.

You pose the question, "Is a self-management programme that includes asthma education plus regular review by health professionals, effective in improving health outcomes for adults with asthma?"

Searching Terms and Evidence Source:
["asthma" OR "wheeze"] AND "patient education" in the Cochrane Library. The Cochrane Library is the most comprehensive source of updated systematic reviews, and this simple search identifies the following review which appears to be very relevant to the question: Gibson PG, Coughlan J, Wilson AJ, et al. Self-management education and regular practitioner review for adults with asthma (Cochrane Review, latest update 29 May 1998). In: The Cochrane Library. Oxford: Update Software.

Read the article and decide:

  1. Is the evidence from this randomised trial valid?
  2. If valid, is this evidence important?
  3. If valid and important, can you apply this evidence in caring for your patient?

Continue to completed worksheet